The Floyd Country Store doesn’t just sell food and merchandise.
It also attracts visitors from near and far who gather to listen and dance to old time music during the “Friday Night Jamboree.”
“There’s a tradition in small rural Appalachian communities that music is played very often at the country store,” said William “Woody” Crenshaw, owner of the establishment.
Crenshaw and his wife, Jackie, bought and renovated the Floyd Country Store to bring back an aspect of reality that had been forgotten.
“I fall into the category, like my wife does, of people who appreciate the authenticity that we so often lack in our 21st century culture,” Crenshaw said.
The store has not only brought the community together, but it has attracted people from all over the world because of its unique music, products and old-timey feel.
Even though it seems like only the older generations would like the jamboree, it has attracted people of all ages.
“I think one of the interesting things is it’s drawing more and more young people from both Tech and Radford,” Crenshaw said.
Skip Pendrey, the soundboard operator and a longtime attendee of the “Friday Night Jamboree,” said that he has traveled to many places but has never experienced anything quite like the country store.
“I was in the Navy for 28 years, I’ve been all over the world a number of times, and there’s never, in any place, been a place like Floyd Country Store,” Pendrey said.
The Crenshaws moved to Floyd in 1989, just a few years before Pendrey and his wife.
“I’m like a lot of people around here who started somewhere else and ended up here,” Crenshaw said.
Even though Crenshaw and his wife are not originally from Floyd, they have fallen in love with it over time.
“The whole town of Floyd is really wonderful,” Crenshaw said. “It’s turned into this place that people come from all over to see — the crafts, the music, the scenery, the kind of alternative hippy culture that’s here.”
One particular craft that makes the country store unique is the cushions from “Angels in the Attic,” collected by Pendrey and his wife, who used to volunteer at the thrift store.
“The seats are hard, folding metal chairs,” Crenshaw said. “It added color, it added texture and it was comfortable for people to sit on.”
People usually sit at the beginning of the “Friday Night Jamboree” during gospel hour, where the more traditional mountain music is played.
Sue Nester, a musician that plays on Friday nights during gospel hour, said that she enjoys seeing and meeting new faces at the country store.
“I met a man from Indiana and a man from Louisiana,” Nester said, following her performance on Friday.
Lee Bryant, a resident of Floyd, has been attending the “Friday Night Jamboree” for almost 20 years. Bryant admits he didn’t start dancing until five years ago, once he noticed how much fun everyone was having.
“We like to dance,” Bryant said. “I’m not a good dancer, but I dance.”
Anyone who comes to the Friday Night Jamboree will notice almost everyone dances — age doesn’t seem to matter.
Some nights, there is a “Children’s Scramble,” where anyone 10 and younger can go out on the dance floor and onlookers can throw coins onto the floor for the children to collect.
Another aspect that has helped the store gain recognition is its inclusion on “The Crooked Road” — Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a 333-mile trail that includes all the best places to stop and listen to the rich musical sounds of Southwest Virginia.
The Floyd Country Store's affiliation with “The Crooked Road” is one reason why Crenshaw and his wife were interested in renovating the store.
“We saw it coming. It was clear that Virginia was going to make a real commitment to this heritage music, the jamboree, Floyd Country Store,” Crenshaw said. “It was one of the places they said has to be a major venue on the trail because of the history of music here.”
Although Nester has been playing at the country store for 10 years, she still remembers when her mom brought her there for the first time.
“This is one of my favorite places,” Nester said. “I love this place. I hope it’s like this forever.”
When asked about the future, Crenshaw was adamant about one thing.
“We don’t have a lot of plans to change,” Crenshaw said. “We have a lot of plans to not change.”